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Tori Kelly - Unbreakable Smile

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Unbreakable Smile

Tori Kelly

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Improbably combining the heartfelt optimism of Taylor Swift with the literate soulfulness of Alicia Keys and the melismatic virtuosity of Mariah Carey, Tori Kelly's full-length album, 2015's Unbreakable Smile, is a thrilling, positive-minded debut. Although Kelly had been an active performer since she was a child, appearing on America's Most Talented Kids and even walking away from a recording contract with Geffen when she was just 12 years old, it wasn't until she struck out on her own as an adult that she began gaining wider recognition. In fact, it was getting booted off American Idol in 2010 that ultimately set her down the creative path toward writing her own songs and recording Unbreakable Smile. Produced by Max Martin (Kelly Clarkson, P!nk, Ellie Goulding), Unbreakable Smile finds Kelly expanding upon the stripped-down vibe of her initial EPs, 2012's Handmade Songs and 2013's Foreward, with a set of emotive, well-crafted songs that straddle the line between melodic rock and contemporary R&B, and acoustic singer/songwriter pop. Part of what makes Kelly so extraordinary is that, while being a truly gifted vocalist (she has perfect pitch), she's also an adept guitarist and songwriter who works as her own best accompanist. As her acoustic EPs proved, she almost doesn't need a producer, let alone a mega-producer like Martin, to knock your socks off. Nor does she need the help of saccharine Brit Ed Sheeran, although his presence dueting on "I Was Made for Loving You" only serves to back up the notion that Kelly is a knockout vocalist. In fact, one of the best tracks on Unbreakable Smile isn't even a full track, but just the album's 1:27 intro number, "Where I Belong." An acoustic, heartfelt declaration of grounded self-awareness, it's a low-key yet absolutely stunning way for Kelly to kick things off and sets you up perfectly for what's to come. And though she immediately dives headlong into a sonically juicy, old-school '90s R&B-inspired aesthetic, she never gets overwhelmed by the production. On the contrary, cuts like the summery, Janet Jackson-esque title track, the funky, Brand New Heavies-sounding "Expensive," and the hypnotic, unrequited relationship anthem "Should've Been Us" are universally relatable, utterly infectious songs that you immediately want to hear again. Ultimately, Unbreakable Smile illustrates Kelly's struggles to remain true to her own astute, artistic vision in the face of an industry that often seems to exhibit a perplexing mistrust of real, organic talent. As Kelly sings on the exuberant title track, "La da da da dee, you're not breaking me."
© Matt Collar /TiVo

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Unbreakable Smile

Tori Kelly

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1
Where I Belong Intro
00:01:26

John Hanes, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Michael Johnson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tori Kelly, Producer, Guitar, Additional Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

2
Unbreakable Smile
00:03:48

Oscar Görres, Guitar, Keyboards, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - John Hanes, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - OZGO, Producer - Peter Carlsson, Producer, Additional Producer - Tori Kelly, Producer, Additional Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Allwyn Kelly, Bass Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Noah "Mailbox" Passavoy, Bass Programming, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

3
Nobody Love
00:03:22

Max Martin, Producer, Keyboards, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Savan Kotecha, ComposerLyricist - Taura Stinson, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Joi Gilliam, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - John Hanes, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sam Holland, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rickard Göransson, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Stefan Persson, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Jonas Thander, Saxophone, Recording Engineer, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Staffan Findin, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Carlsson, Editor, Tambourine, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Tori Kelly, Guitar, Background Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jonne Bentlöv, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Chonita Gillespie, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

4
Expensive
00:03:26

Max Martin, Producer, Keyboards, Percussion, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Savan Kotecha, ComposerLyricist - Taura Stinson, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alexander Kronlund, Guitar, Saxophone, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Joi Gilliam, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Joleen Belle, ComposerLyricist - John Hanes, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sam Holland, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cory Bice, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tori Kelly, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Tash Phillips, ComposerLyricist - Lukas Loules, ComposerLyricist - Daye Jack, FeaturedArtist, ComposerLyricist - LULOU, Producer, Drums, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Brass Band, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chonita Gillespie, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

5
Should’ve Been Us
00:03:06

Alexander Kronlund, ComposerLyricist - John Hanes, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sam Holland, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Laleh Pourkarim, ComposerLyricist - Oscar Holter, Producer, Music Production, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - The Struts, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cory Bice, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Peter Carlsson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tori Kelly, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Jakob Jerlström, ComposerLyricist - Ludvig Söderberg, Music Production, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - James Ghaleb, ComposerLyricist - Magnus Ramel, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

6
First Heartbreak
00:03:25

Toby GAD, Producer, Recording Engineer, Recording Arranger, Music Production, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Tobias Gad, ComposerLyricist - John Hanes, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tori Kelly, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

7
I Was Made For Loving You
00:03:09

Victor Indrizzo, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - John Hanes, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Pino Palladino, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Joe Peluso, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mattias Bylund, String Arranger, Editor, Recording Engineer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Ed Sheeran, Producer, Guitar, Background Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mattias Johansson, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Tori Kelly, Producer, Background Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - David Bukovinszky, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Courtney Ballard, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

8
City Dove
00:03:42

John Hanes, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Laleh Pourkarim, Producer, Engineer, Guitar, Additional Producer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Ilya Salmanzadeh, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Bass, Keyboards, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Mattias Bylund, String Arranger, Editor, Recording Engineer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Gustaf Thörn, Piano, Asst. Recording Engineer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Tori Kelly, Guitar, Background Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - David Bukovinszky, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Maria Ekvall, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - KnocDown, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

9
Talk
00:03:51

John Hanes, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - J. Ho, ComposerLyricist - Malay, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tori Kelly, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

10
Funny Live
00:04:17

C. Kelly, ComposerLyricist - John Hanes, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Charles Harmony, ComposerLyricist - Tori Kelly, Producer, Guitar, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Noah "Mailbox" Passavoy, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

11
Art Of Letting You Go
00:03:35

John Hanes, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - O. Kleinman, ComposerLyricist - Oren Yoel, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Doron Dina, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tori Kelly, Producer, Additional Producer, Background Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

12
California Lovers
00:03:39

Max Martin, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Savan Kotecha, ComposerLyricist - James Todd Smith, ComposerLyricist - John Hanes, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sam Holland, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rickard Göransson, Percussion, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ali Payami, Producer, Percussion, Music Production, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - LL Cool J, FeaturedArtist - Peter Carlsson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tori Kelly, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

13
Falling Slow
00:03:54

Max Martin, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Hanes, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sam Holland, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johan Carlsson, Producer, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Organ, Piano, Additional Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mattias Bylund, String Arranger, Editor, Recording Engineer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Mattias Johansson, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Noah "Mailbox" Passovoy, Producer, Additional Producer - Cory Bice, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tori Kelly, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - David Bukovinszky, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Max Wulfson, Violin, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

14
Anyway
00:04:32

Claude Kelly, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Chuck Harmony, Producer, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Hanes, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Michael Johnson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tori Kelly, Producer, Guitar, Additional Producer, Background Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

15
Hollow
00:03:32

Peer Astrom, Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Hanes, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Anders, Producer - Hayley Warner, ComposerLyricist - Adrian Breakspear, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Thom Macken, Producer, Additional Producer, ComposerLyricist - Tori Kelly, Producer, Engineer, Additional Producer, MainArtist, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Lindsey Jackson, Producer, Additional Producer, ComposerLyricist - Fredrik Janson, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Zachary Poor, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2015 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

16
Something Beautiful
00:03:44

Justin Franks, ComposerLyricist - Frank E, Producer - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jacob Luttrell, ComposerLyricist - Jimmy Gonzalez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Galland, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Vincent Watson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tori Kelly, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Ike Schultz, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeanette Steiner, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2016 Capitol Records & Schoolboy Records

Album Description

Improbably combining the heartfelt optimism of Taylor Swift with the literate soulfulness of Alicia Keys and the melismatic virtuosity of Mariah Carey, Tori Kelly's full-length album, 2015's Unbreakable Smile, is a thrilling, positive-minded debut. Although Kelly had been an active performer since she was a child, appearing on America's Most Talented Kids and even walking away from a recording contract with Geffen when she was just 12 years old, it wasn't until she struck out on her own as an adult that she began gaining wider recognition. In fact, it was getting booted off American Idol in 2010 that ultimately set her down the creative path toward writing her own songs and recording Unbreakable Smile. Produced by Max Martin (Kelly Clarkson, P!nk, Ellie Goulding), Unbreakable Smile finds Kelly expanding upon the stripped-down vibe of her initial EPs, 2012's Handmade Songs and 2013's Foreward, with a set of emotive, well-crafted songs that straddle the line between melodic rock and contemporary R&B, and acoustic singer/songwriter pop. Part of what makes Kelly so extraordinary is that, while being a truly gifted vocalist (she has perfect pitch), she's also an adept guitarist and songwriter who works as her own best accompanist. As her acoustic EPs proved, she almost doesn't need a producer, let alone a mega-producer like Martin, to knock your socks off. Nor does she need the help of saccharine Brit Ed Sheeran, although his presence dueting on "I Was Made for Loving You" only serves to back up the notion that Kelly is a knockout vocalist. In fact, one of the best tracks on Unbreakable Smile isn't even a full track, but just the album's 1:27 intro number, "Where I Belong." An acoustic, heartfelt declaration of grounded self-awareness, it's a low-key yet absolutely stunning way for Kelly to kick things off and sets you up perfectly for what's to come. And though she immediately dives headlong into a sonically juicy, old-school '90s R&B-inspired aesthetic, she never gets overwhelmed by the production. On the contrary, cuts like the summery, Janet Jackson-esque title track, the funky, Brand New Heavies-sounding "Expensive," and the hypnotic, unrequited relationship anthem "Should've Been Us" are universally relatable, utterly infectious songs that you immediately want to hear again. Ultimately, Unbreakable Smile illustrates Kelly's struggles to remain true to her own astute, artistic vision in the face of an industry that often seems to exhibit a perplexing mistrust of real, organic talent. As Kelly sings on the exuberant title track, "La da da da dee, you're not breaking me."
© Matt Collar /TiVo

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